SDHSAA says enforcement is biggest challenge of mask mandate

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The DakotaDome hosted its seventh, and final, high school football championship game Saturday night. Fans were required to wear a mask, but not everyone played by the rules.

South Dakota High School Activities Association Executive Director Dan Swartos sees room for improvement after every state tournament.

“There’s always things that we feel could have gone better, we could have improved on, but by and large I think it went pretty well,” SDHSAA Executive Director Dan Swartos said.

Unlike past football championships, special rules were in place due to COVID-19.

“We had masks mandated. We made a lot of reminders throughout the games to stay socially distant, to wear masks,” Swartos said.

A majority of fans complied. As for those who didn’t, Swartos says the biggest challenge is enforcement.

“At the end of the day, you can’t hold the mask on somebody, you can’t tie them to their chair, and to have the amount of people it would take to be checking people constantly for masks and to be checking their ticket to make sure they’re sitting where they’re supposed to be would have been very difficult to do,” Swartos said.

Swartos believes this week’s state volleyball tournament will be more manageable, despite playing in Brookings, Watertown, and Huron.

“It does make it a little more challenging when there’s different towns with different circumstances. What we chose to do is take the town with the highest level of mitigation and put that across all three so that we’re treating it all the same,” Swartos said.

Once volleyball is complete, the focus will quickly shift to winter sports.

“We’d like to see things turn around a little bit in the state in terms of cases and such, but for the time being our intention is to start winter sports as scheduled,” Swartos said.

Masks and social distancing will be required at all three sites for this week’s state volleyball tournament.

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